Minnesota Federal Court Dismisses, In Part, Put-Back Claims Against Mortgage Originators

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On September 30, a Minnesota federal judge granted in part and denied in part WMC’s and EquiFirst’s motions to dismiss three suits brought by U.S. Bank, as Trustee for an RMBS trust, alleging that WMC and EquiFirst breached representations and warranties in the purchase agreements relevant to each securitization. As to U.S. Bank’s breach of contract claims, Judge John R. Tunheim concluded that the contracts’ sole remedy provisions barred claims for monetary damages and limited the Trustee to specific performance of the contractual repurchase provision. The court also granted the motions to dismiss with respect to the Trustee’s claims for contractual indemnification and declaratory relief. However, Judge Tunheim denied the motion to dismiss the Trustee’s claim that the defendants were liable as a result of their failure to notify the Trustee of breaches when the defendants discovered them. The court also permitted the Trustee’s claim for damages based on gross negligence to proceed. Finally, in the same order the court granted, in part, WMC’s motion for summary judgment in a fourth related action. Opinion.